I’ve read a lot of books in my adult life time. Since I started reading at age 24 (I’m now 38) I’ve probably read close to 800 books. Of those books, I have to be brutally honest and tell you that Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was the most influential and important book I have ever read. This book should be a must read for every high school and college student in America. It’s is absolutely loaded with helpful ideas that can literally transform your life for the better.
In the paragraphs below I want to share 16 lessons I learned from Think & Grow Rich. These are simple, yet effective life and business lessons that helped me develop my potential and become a winner in life. At the end of each lesson I will share my own take on the idea.
I know these lessons can have the same impact in your life. Let’s get started.
1. “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.”
My Take: We are all capable of great things. If you think you can be successful, you are right. If you think you will fail, you are right. Most people self-sabotage their own success by underestimating themselves and thinking negatively about themselves. Get your thinking right and watch your life turn around. Start believing in yourself, your own abilities, and watch your life improve. The truth is: we become what we think about. Your thoughts will determine your actions and your actions will determine your results.
2. “One sound idea is all that one needs to achieve success.”
My Take: Throughout our lifetime, we have many great ideas. Unfortunately, we seldom act upon these ideas. The truth is one good idea that is acted upon can make you rich, happy and successful. When you get good ideas, take out a piece of paper and write it down. Think about ways you can take action and turn your idea into reality. Create a business plan or action plan. Share it with a trusted peer you respect. You never know where your ideas may end up. As a word of caution, if you don’t write it down, think about it often, develop a plan of action to implement it, and actually do something about it, your good idea will end up as nothing more than a dream in your mind. Most people have good ideas, but very few people actually implement their ideas.
3. “One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when one is overtaken by temporary defeat.”
My Take: We live in a society of quitters. Most Americans are fat, out of shape and lazy. When the going gets tough, we quit. We quit marriages, savings plans, diets and just about everything else in life. Most people quit their New Year’s resolution in less than a week. Very few people have the mental toughness and discipline to follow through with their original decisions, once the initial excitement is gone.
Here’s the truth. Success is never fast, free or easy. No matter what you are trying to do or accomplish, you will experience setbacks, challenges and temporary failure. It’s how you view these things and what you do about it that really counts. Successful people look at these “temporary defeats” as nothing more than an obstacle to work through or go around. Failures look at these setbacks as something permanent, so they give up and quit. All you have to do is get up one more time than you are knocked down.
4. “The starting point of all achievement is desire.”
My Take: You cannot motivate someone to be successful, or to have desire. I’ve tried it myself and I know for a fact that it doesn’t work. Motivation and desire come from within. Unless you have the desire to do something great with your life, it simply won’t happen. You have to wake up every morning with a big burning desire in your belly. You have to have big goals and dreams. Without that your life will be average. What are your desires? What do you want to achieve with your life? On a side note, it’s important to know that desire alone is not enough. It is simply the starting point. There are plenty of dreamers with big desires who end up as failures because they don’t create action plans, they don’t do the work and they don’t take action.
5. “Persistence, concentration of effort and definiteness of purpose, were the major sources of their achievements (when talking about successful people).”
My Take: This is the most important lesson on this list. To be successful, you need three things. You need a clear goal, you need a clear action plan, and you need the discipline and persistence to reach your goal. Most people have one of those three things, sometimes even two of the three things, but very few people have all three things. I highly suggest you spend some time and evaluate yourself in each area. What is your goal? What is your action plan? Do you have the mental toughness to see it through? Work on each area and try to improve. Once you master these three things you can turn your goals into reality.
6. “The years between forty and fifty are, as a rule, the most fruitful.”
My Take: I meet more people in their 20s and 30s who think they are washed up and over the hill. You should look forward to getting older. It takes most people until their 40s or 50s to figure life out, to figure out what they want to do in life, and to become successful. Look forward to getting older and gaining new wisdom. You’re never to late or to old to become successful. You are never over the hill unless you think you are. Personally, I’ve met very few people who were successful in life before they reached age forty or fifty. I also know many people who didn’t become ultra successful until they hit their 60s, 70s, or even 80s. Life is a marathon not a sprint.
7. “Man’s greatest motivating force is his desire to please woman.”
My Take: Women have a huge role in motivating men. We’ve all heard that behind every successful man is a more successful woman! Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that is the truth. One of the reasons I work so hard in my business (and have big goals) is to please my wife, to provide for her, and give her the lifestyle she wants to live. I know many other men feel the exact same way! Without someone to share your life with, your achievements, financial success, and goals would be practically meaningless. If you can’t get motivated on your own, find a good woman to marry, and that should motivate you to create a legacy!
8. “Positive and negative emotions cannot occupy the mind at the same time.”
My Take: I’m a big fan of positive thinking. You can’t have happy and negative thoughts at the same time. If you are naturally cynical or negative, do what you can to reprogram your mind with happy thoughts. Of course, achieving success takes a lot more than just thinking positively. You still need a game-plan, you still must do the work, and you still must be persistent. But if you are negative all the time, I don’t think you will ever take the time to develop a plan or set goals. You will always end up selling yourself short and never get started in the first place. You’ll always come up with reasons why your ideas won’t work. Try to look at the bright side of things. Be optimistic. Here’s a good piece of advice: Let your actions control your emotions rather than letting your emotions control your actions.
9. “Most individuals lack the will power to reach decisions promptly, and to stand by them after they have been made.”
My Take: The best leaders and most successful people I’ve ever met in life were great decision makers. They had a process to make decisions and they weren’t scared to make tough decisions either. On the other hand, most failures are scared to make a decision. They don’t want to take chances and risks. They are scared that they might make a decision that makes them look bad, causes them to fail, or causes other people to laugh, doubt, or make fun of them. In life we have to make decisions. Otherwise, people will make our decisions for us. And most importantly, we have to have the mental toughness to stick with our decisions, even when times get tough and things don’t go as planned. You will meet very few successful people who are indecisive.
10. “There is one weakness in people for which there is no remedy. It is the universal weakness of lack of ambition.”
My Take: You can’t motivate anyone to do anything on a permanent basis. You might temporarily motivate someone, but the truth is people are either self-motivated or they aren’t. Most people do not have big ambitions in life. Instead, they want nothing more than a steady check, good benefits and job security. They have no desire to set big goals, take risks, and potentially fail.
In fact, most people simply want the government to take to take care of them, even if it means they live a meager life. Your odds of reaching huge success without being ambitious first are practically ZERO. You see, success doesn’t happen by accident. Instead, it is something you plan for and work for. And it all starts with being ambitious. Study any successful person and you will find out that they were/are very ambitious.
11. “Lack of persistence is one of the major causes of failure.”
Without a doubt, one of the most common reasons for failure in life (and in the network marketing industry) is lack of persistence. You can’t try anything for 60 to 90 days and expect massive success. Most ventures take a few years to get going. You must also realize that you will face temporary defeat and failure, until you develop the right skill-set and right mind-set. Developing your skills and mind-set will take time do and won’t happen overnight. The bottom line is to get started, keep pressing forward and never quit. Staying in the game is more than half the battle.
12. “No follower wishes to be dominated by a leader who lacks self confidence and courage.”
People are naturally attracted to other leaders. It’s going to be hard to attract people into your network marketing business if you don’t believe in yourself, your company and your products. People want to work with someone who knows who they are and where they are headed in life. People want to work with leaders, not followers! If you deal with confidence or worthiness issues, fix it. Read books. Focus on personal development. Get help from a psychiatrist or doctor if needed.
13. “Remember that all who succeed in life get off to a bad start and pass through many heartbreaking struggles before they arrive.”
No one is an overnight success story. There is always a story behind the story. Every successful distributor you see on stage went through significant trials and tribulations before they became successful. They might not talk about it on stage, but it’s the truth. The road to success is never a straight line. There will be zigs and zags and plenty of roadblocks along the way. The “struggles” and “temporary failures” will mold your character and help you become the person you need to be, in order to become successful.
14. “Tell the world what you intend to do, but first show it.”
I meet a lot people in our industry who talk a big game, but their actions do not match their words. It’s easy to say you’re going to be successful and build a huge team of distributors, but at the end of the day you have to get off your butt and do it. Be so busy working that you don’t have time to talk a big game! Let your actions speak louder than your words.
15. “Successful men, in all callings, never stop acquiring specialized knowledge related to their major purpose, business or profession.”
This is a very important lesson. To succeed in network marketing you need to be a student of your industry. You must learn everything you can about the industry, your company and the products. Doctors often go to school seven to ten YEARS BEFORE they can start practicing medicine. Many other professions require several years of specialized knowledge. If you’ve never done network marketing or owned a business before, you have to be willing to spend the time and money to develop your specialized knowledge. It takes a whole certain set of skills to succeed in this industry. Most people do not have these skills when they first get started. They have to be developed.
16. “I am also trying to emphasize another point, namely, that both success and failure are largely the results of habits.”
Our habits ultimately determine where we end up in life. We all have good habits and bad habits. To succeed in network marketing, you have to create new habits such as working your business every day, working on your personal development every day, contacting prospects every day, setting aside an hour or so to build your business every day, and so forth. The successful distributors in every company have good habits. That’s how they became successful. Evaluate your own habits and look for areas you can improve upon.
Buy the Book on Amazon
About the Book
First published in 1937, this book has sold millions of copies and is one of the best-selling books of all time. Many successful people claim it as “the book” that transformed their life and helped them become successful. The book is the result of many interviews with successful millionaires that was conducted over a two decade time frame.
About Napoleon Hill
Born in 1883, I consider Napoleon Hill to be the “God Father” of personal development and success thinking. He was a respected author, journalist, lecturer and salesman. He died in 1970.
Think & Grow Rich is the most influential book I’ve ever read. The knowledge and wisdom I’ve learned from Napoleon Hill has totally transformed my life and helped me become happy and successful. These top 10 lessons from Think & Grow Rich helped me and I know they can help you too. If you haven’t read the book before (or recently) do yourself a favor and order a copy. The information in the book is life-changing if you have an open mind and are willing to apply what you learn.
What are your thoughts? What are your favorite lessons from Think & Grow Rich? Leave a comment and let us know. I look forward to hearing from you.